Excessive weight is a house of diseases. Research shows that regular physical activity helps with weight loss and can therefore reduce your risk for several diseases and conditions and improve your overall quality of life. Regular physical activity can help protect you from the following health problems.
Heart Disease and Stroke: Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity.
High Blood Pressure: Regular physical activity can reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity also reduces excess weight, which is associated with high blood pressure.
Non-insulin-dependent Diabetes: By reducing excess body weight, physical activity can help prevent and control this type of diabetes.
Obesity: Physical activity helps reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body’s ability to use calories. When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.
Back Pain: By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps prevent back pain.
Osteoporosis: Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with ageing.
Studies on the psychological effects of exercise have found that regular physical activity can improve your mood’ and the way you feel about yourself. Researchers have also found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and. anxiety and help you to better manage stress.
Keep these health benefits in mind when deciding whether or not to exercise. And remember, any amount of physical activity you do is better than none at all.
Types of Activities
Endurance Activities: (4-7 days a week)
Endurance activities help your heart, lungs and circulatory system stay healthy and give you more energy. They range from walking and household chores to organized exercise programmes and recreational sports.
Here are some examples to get you thinking about how to increase your endurance activities:
* Yard and garden work
Flexibility Activities: (4-7 days a week)
Flexibility activities help you move easily, keeping your muscles relaxed and your joints mobile. Regular flexibility activities can help you live better and longer, so that your quality of life and independence are maintained even as you get older. Flexibility activities include gentle reaching, bending, and stretching of all muscle groups.
Here are some ideas to help you increase your flexibility activities:
* Mopping the floor
* Yard work
* Stretching exercises
Strength Activities: (2-4 days a week)
Strength activities help your muscles and bones stay strong, improve your posture and help prevent diseases like osteoporosis. Strength activities are those that make you work your muscles against some kind of resistance, like when you push or pull hard to open a heavy door.
To ensure good overall strength, try to do a combination of activities that exercise the muscles in your arms, mid-section, and legs. Strive for a good balance – upper body and lower body, right and left sides, and opposing muscle groups (e.g., both the front and back of the upper arm).
Here are some ideas to increase your strength activities:
* Heavy yard work
* Raking and carrying leaves
* Lifting and carrying groceries (not to mention infants and toddlers!)
* Climbing stairs
* Exercises like abdominal curls and push-ups
* Weight/strength-training routines
Duration of Exercise
For the greatest overall health benefits, experts recommend that you do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type ,of muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week. However, if you are unable to do this level of activity, you can gain substantial health benefits by performing 30 minutes or more of moderate to intense physical activity a day, at least five times a week.
If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start with less strenuous activities such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning at a slow pace will allow you to become physically fit without straining your body. Once you are in better shape, you can gradually do more strenuous activity.